Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I myself am sans homme following an unfortunate episode involving incorrect Tinder settings, an on-the-edge leading light of the Save Cork Street campaign, his wife and a private screening of Blue is the Warmest Colour. But still, that doesn’t stop me from putting together a small list of what I aspire to from this celebration of romance.
Firstly, my love life needs some control. Or rather, Control, the crazy magazine that Stephen Willats started in the 1960s that is still going and has a readership that occasionally stretches to double figures. Control is also the title of Willats’ show at Raven Row that contains the magazine itself, sculpture, furniture and some clothing. The clothes might not quite be as dazzling as the new Missoni metallic crochet-knit maxi skirt, but they could be the next best thing.
Diamonds are passé. What a girl really needs is a large, firm column. Ideally this would be from the block of marble transported by sea from China that features in Adrian Paci’s mesmerising film, The Column, 2013, that was on at PAC in Milan late last year. The scenes where diligent Chinese craftsmen sculpt and polish the formless rock into a proud, shiny column whilst on board a ship are something to behold.
Most biennials are in god-forsaken locations in terms of romance, but this is certainly not the case with the forthcoming Marrakech Biennale that spans the arts. The visual art bit, curated by Hicham Khalidi features works by Can & Asli Altay, Kader Attia , Keren Cytter, Younes Baba-Ali and Shezad Dawood amongst others. And whilst locals will tell you that the bar, Comptoir, is totally over, the nightly bellydancers are still worth a lingering gaze.
Set miles out in leafy South London, The Dulwich Picture Gallery lays claims to being London’s most romantic museum. And whilst David Hockney might have misfired in his recent show at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, the more modest survey of his prints at Dulwich should see him on firmer ground. Take a book, hang out at the café, get chatting to the handsome waiter recently over on a budget flight from Romania and fall madly in love.
Finally, 14 February might be Valentine’s Day but it is also decision-day for the faceless planners at Westminster Council on the fate of Cork Street. Yes, it might be a bit run down, have a dodgy gallery for hire and a number of others that you thought closed in the 1960s but there’s no doubt that Cork Street has both history and a peculiar melancholic charm of how the art world used to be before Larry, David and Iwan steamed into town on the back of High Net Worth individuals. On Valentine’s Day, take your date there, re-create David Medalla’s outdoor installation, Down With the Slave Trade, 1968-71, by plonking down chairs, wrapping plastic tubing and flags round yourself and your enmeshed date, stop the traffic and Save Cork Street!
6 February 2014